Video games have led many anxious parents to fear that their children could turn into addicted, uncultured sloths.
But research by one of Britain's largest music charities suggests that the popularity of active music titles such as "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" have prompted up to 2.5 million children to learn the instruments for real.
The report conducted by Youth Music found that of the 12 million young people aged from 3 to 18, more than half played music games.
A fifth of those gamers said that they now played an instrument after catching the musical bug from the games.
"We have long known that young people are encouraged to take an interest in music if it is presented to them in a compelling way," said Andrew Missingham, the music-industry expert who wrote the report. "This research for the first time shows conclusively that young people are being inspired to make their own music by games that first piqued their interest."
"Guitar Hero," where players strap on a plastic guitar and strum along to rock hits, has sold 5.5 million copies worldwide since its 2005 release and spawned several sequels including "Guitar Hero: World Tour," which came out last month.
"Rock Band," which features a plastic drum kit, has sold 4 million and the karaoke game "SingStar" has sold 4 million copies globally.